Sometimes I wonder if games like these were designed for future generations instead of the ones in which they were released. It would make so more sense to imagine some lonely, flowering otaku building the game and thinking “someday, when we have save-states, and GameFAQS, and video walkthroughs on YouTube—then my game will be able to be comfortably played and appreciated!” then to think what they were programming was even close to playable on a console before emulation came around. How would you have done it? Do you realize there was a time when you were expected to fork over $49.99 to play these and then not be able to? That could have bought you a thimble of the coke everyone in the 80s was snorting to perpetuate this fantasy of gross gamer ignorance.
So now that I had the world’s worst use of save-stating emulation (nnesterJ. C’mon man, put a fucking hot-key option on that) at my disposal, I set out to see how playable some of these games were in the modern world.
And that’s the story of how I learned that time does not fix gameplay.
Ys / Super R-Type / Mystery Quest:
Replay Value: 3
…what? Oh c’mon Paul, I’m exhausted. You knew the content was going to be lacking when the crux of my last review was swearing way the hell out of context.
FINE! I’ll do it—pull your pants back up. (And I don’t care what you call it—see a doctor immediately!)
Though I protest, it’s actually easier to review all three of these games at the same time because I can roughly say the same thing to any of them without fear of contextual abuse (the number two killer of women 48-59). Senselessly difficult? Ys and Super R-Type. Confusing as the British slang for edibles? Ys and Mystery Quest. So pointless in execution that you’d rather just sit where you are for 60 years and grow manboobs because at least you know what you’re doing there? All three, and throw in Brandish for SNES too, like you’ll ever play that.
Mystery Quest I want to go a little easy on because it holds a unique spot in whatever organ I’m currently substituting my heart for until I can buy out the contract I have on it because I leased it out to pay for gas. I play Mystery Quest whenever I want to play THE poster game for obscure, almost infantile game design. You see, I played it like once when I was eight, and all I could remember about it was the box art. Fourteen years later I finally figured out what the game was and tried to play through it.
That was a great 10 minutes.
Mostly because I was getting a lap dance at the time, too.
The other two have very little excuse. I appreciate that Ys has a limited number of places to go so you can’t get way TOO lost, but why is the only way for this game to give you a better sense of direction is for me to go back in time, kill the script writer, replace his function, ride his wife all night, and rewrite the game so that 20 years later, I wouldn’t have to type this paragraph? I could easily just press backspace for eight seconds, but that makes the 20 years I spent writing it worthless! I’m a young man! I got one foot in the grave!
But if there is something more asinine than boss characters you may not even be strong enough to damage who lock you in their room and beat you in two-to-three hits while you fucking WALK THROUGH THEM TO HIT THEM, it’s Super R-Type. Do you like your space shooter games to be exceptionally slow? Do you like it when the position of your ship on the screen means more for survival then shooting and accounts for 95% of the 30,000 deaths you will experience as long as the game is loaded until you reach the end of the stage and discover the maddening irony that some of the bosses die in one charged shot? Well, maybe just one, I don’t know—save-stating never actually got me far enough to see if a lot of others did the same.
Mystery Quest was never that cheap; it’s just ridiculous to figure out what to do or where you go. You play a fucking elf trying to find Santa in one of four castles spread throughout the land of imagination (trust me, this bullshit is better than any story this game doesn’t even have) so that Jesus won’t be aborted at the last minute by a hysterically pregnant 11-year-old Mary Magdalene 2,000 years into the present. The design of the game and what you have to do to get through is actually mildly creative and intriguing until you get stuck in the first castle. How are you supposed to know you can actually jump up on a fireplace or that your boots sometimes break the floor beneath you to get through? Shit, there’s only even two castles. The second two are just copies of the first two. Then you have to beat the game four times before you get the good ending. That’s eight times getting stuck in two castles each. I really hate to call Hao a pussy, but if I’m going to all that trouble for him to cry because he can’t swim, than I want a hero who doesn’t break down at the game over screen. I want one that sneers and tells me to “Go home and be a family man!” even though that wouldn’t actually help Hao save Santa so the Jews don’t overrun the end of December with Chanukah even though its badass to get presents 13 days in a row so maybe it’s worth not…
[The review goes on for much, much longer than this, but it’s total gibberish. We’re cutting it off here. -ed.]